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These 1802 letters concern the fate of Elizabeth JACKSON, the widow of the United Irishman Rev. William JACKSON (abt 1737-1795). He had committed suicide while in the dock of a Dublin Court awaiting sentencing for his “treasonous” acts. His rationale for committing suicide had been to avoid his assets being seized should he be sentenced to capital punishment. These two letters, seven years after his death, concern Elizabeth's so far unsuccessful attempts to secure financial help and support in France for their two children. The wealth which she had previously enjoyed was no more. There is much more to learn. What happened to the properties that Rev. William would most likely have inherited from his JACKSON and GORE ancestors? Were there actually any properties that Elizabeth had rights to? If yes, where were they and who benefited? It always helps to follow the money (or in Ireland's case - follow the land).
Sharon Oddie Brown August 31, 2023


1802 Elizabeth JACKSON Paris both letters TRANSLATION v4
SOURCE: Microfilm held at the National Library, Dublin: Ministère des Affaires Etrangères; Correspondance Politique: Angleterre; Cote 596.

The French in these two letters is the version of French as written in 1802. When it comes to translation, there are three kinds:

·         Literal. Word for word.

·         Literary. More creative and often better at conveying the intent than literal translation is able to.

·         Lumpy. My rough and ready blend of Literal and Literary..

NOTE: My thanks to Marje Umezuki who explained Fructidore to me (a month in the French Revolutionary calendar); to Joëlle Pontbriand who helped me with some of my French transcriptions; and to Sylvia Kleinman, a Dublin historian, who taught me how to convert the French calendar into the Gregorian calendar.

Beneath my Lumpy translation, I have included a transcription of the French text beside images of my original scans.

Hopefully, someone with more translation skills than I currently have can take it from here. Elizabeth JACKSON is worthy of our attention. She was one of many who suffered deeply from the failure of the United Irishmen.


This first letter - #498 - is a clerk’s copy of Elizabeth Jackson’s original letter.

Those words which I could not decode are in [brackets].


25 Frucidar an 10[1]


Madam Eliza Jackson[2], Widow of Doctor Jackson[3]

Minister; Protestant, Employee of the Government

France as Agent of Ireland, and condemned

as such in Dublin.


To the Premier Consul

[???] Minister of

[State?] [to make a report for me?]

[next to the demand on the 4th?]


Citizen Consul


Doctor Jackson, my husband

is condemned to death for having served the

French Government very well I pray [saisin = input?] and two

young children are the sole heritage that I have been permitted

to receive from him. Alarmed for their existence – I came

to France, to reclaim the benefits that were given to me

by the French Government, and it is to your Citizen Consul who

I address my humble claims. I continue to hope that

the one who dried up so many of my tears and stopped the

heart of the other of misfortune take pity on the deplorable

fate of a woman once so wealthy and now delivered to all

the bitterness of such a terrible situation. I would have suffered

in silence if I had only my misfortune to bear

but seeing my two children without help and support

is a torment that my heart cannot endure.


I implore your justice and I am solicitating a

place for my son, William Jackson[4] age 13 years

in the Prytanée de Paris where he can learn to cherish

his Benefactor and a pension for sustaining my existence

and for my daughter[5] [age 7 years] The reply which was made in your

name addressed to the Minister of Marine and that Minister

referred me to that of External Affairs but my steps

have all been unsuccessful and I have no more

than a single hope. Allow me Citizen Consul to expose

to your eyes a picture of my situation.

Having consumed my [financial?] means after a stay

of six months in Paris, I have come to a moment when it will be

impossible to exist, and to be able to have my children exist.

I have taught them the names of the heroes of France

and my heart tells me that he will come to the rescue of their unhappy mother

and cast a benevolent eye over her and them.

Hotel of Paris

Rue d la Roi

15 Sept 1802

I am Citizen Consul

With the most profound respect your

very humble and obedient servant,

Eliza Jackson


This 2nd letter - #501 - is a clerk’s copy of a response to Elizabeth Jackson’s letter.

Those words which I could not decode are in [brackets].



12 Sept 1802


Of Official


Note. The responses

Made by the Ministry must

relate exactly to the date of

the Letters

that we have received, and carry in the margin

the indications of the

Bureau, in order any

delay in expediting the affairs

Paris, 15 Sept 1802 10[6] of the Republic united and indivisible

The Minister of the Marine and of the Colonies

to the Minister of External Relations


I send you the evidence

made of the instruction

attached to the trial

At the beginning of the year 2y the Citizens
Ministry, the Public Safety
Ministry had each ordered the External Relations
and the Marine [aka Navy] to expedite a secret Agent,
the General Dalbarade, to Ireland, but instead
chose Doctor Jackson, Anglican Minister.
The object of the foreign mission was to write
to Dublin to arrange the publication of a periodical but
the special instructions to him prescribed offering to Ireland the Security
and protection of France; they were determined to shake off the English yoke.
Doctor Jackson presented the

dangers of this enterprise and he committed to it

only after having obtained from the Committee of Public Safety the formal promise
that if he served he would be provided for the subsistence for his family

and an English General Officer would be held hostage
whose head must answer for his.
If the sequence of events has proven that
Doctor Jackson zealously seconded the wishes
of the French Government, she has only sufficiently
justified the fears that he had conceived for his
personal safety. Denounced by an unfaithful confident,
he was arrested as guilty of high
treason which he escaped by voluntary death
after a year of agony which had been reserved for him.
These facts are attested by the testimony of
many persons who in this time were part
of the Deliberation of the Public Safety Committee and
by the procedure which I remit to you as attached.
After the death of Doctor Jackson, his
widow was detained in Ireland and was under surveillance
rigorously exercised on her and she could not
go to France; she's only been there five
months and has in vain called until now commitments made with her husband.

The resources that she had are completely exhausted
and she solicits justice from the Government an alimony
pension for herself and her daughter age 6 years and a place
at Peylanneé [Prytanée de Paris] for her son who is in
his 13th year.
Although Doctor Jackson received his first order
from one of my predecessors, the nature of the
mission places him in the class of the agents of your
Ministry and I think that it belongs to you
to provoke the Decision of the First Consul for
the claims of his widow.
I don’t think it is necessary, Citizen Minster, for me
to insist on the steps that Mrs. Jackson
has done with you. Her woes, her actual position
 will be in great interest to your sensibilities
and I hope that she will obtain through you
the help that she has the most pressing care of and that
she deserves by the merits of her painful sacrifices.

I have the honour to salute you


Above all she asks to put her son in the Prytaneé


This first letter - #498 - is a clerk’s copy of Elizabeth Jackson’s original letter.

Those words which I could not decode are in [brackets].



25 Frucidar an 10[7]

Madam Eliza Jackson, Veuve du Doctor Jackson

Ministre; Protestant, Employé par le Gouvernment

François comme Agent du Irlande, et condamné  comme tel

[til?] à Dublin.


Au Premier Consul

[???] Ministre des

[________? rapport]

[________? Pour ma faire]

[________? Je pre me]


Citoyen Consul


Le Docteur Jackson, mon mari

etant condamné à la mort pour avoir voulu servir la

Government Français, Tous [cer?] [Biens?] j’orent [saisir?] et deux

jeunes enfantes sont le seult heritage q’il  [m’a?] eté permis de

reçovoir de lui  [. _] Allarmée?] sur [ceur?] existance – je suis venue

en France, pour reclamer les bienfaits qui me furent promi

par le Government françois, et c’est a vour Citoyen Consul que

j’adresse mes humbles reclamations. Je conçur l’espoir que

[celui??] qui a tari la source de tante de larment et arreté le

cour de l’autre de malheure prendroit pitié du Sort deplorable

d’une femme jadis si fortuneé et a present livreé à toutes

les amertumes d’une situation si affreuse. J’eusse souffert

in silence si je n’eusse en que mon seul malheur à supporter

mais voir mes deux enfants sans secoures, sans soutien

c’est un tourment que mon cour ne peut endurer.

J’implorai votre justice, et j’esai en solliciter une

place pour mon fils William Jackson age de 13[8] ans

dans le Prytanée de Paris [9] où il peut apprendre à cherir

son Bienfaiteur[10], et une pension pour soutenir mon existence

et celle de ma fille  [age de 7 ans[11]]  La Reponse qui me fut faite en votre

nom, m’addresseoit au Ministre de la Marine et ca Ministre

me renvoya à celui des Relation Extérieures mes Démarcher

d’euront été toutes infructereuses et je n’ai plus

qu’un seul espoir. Permettez Citoyen Consul que j’expose

à vor yeux a tableau de ma Situation. Elle est calle

qu’aprèes avoir consumé  mes moyens [?????] par un sejour

de cing mois àn Paris, je touche an moment ou il me

sera impossible d’exister, et de fair existe mes enfants

Je leùr ai appris [ta?] [benir?] le nom du heros de la France

et mon cour me dit qu’il jettera sur elle et sur eux

un regard de Bienfaisance

Hotel de Paris

Rue de la Loi[12]

Ce 25 fructidor No 3[13]

Je suis Citoyen Consul

Avec le plus profond respect votre

Tres humble et obeissante Servante

Eliza Jackson


This 2nd letter - #501 - is a clerk’s copy of a response to Elizabeth Jackson’s original letter.

Those words which I could not decode are in [brackets].






Des Officiel



Note. Les réponses à

faire au Ministre doivant

relater exactement la date

des Lettres qu’on en a re-

çues, et porter en marge

l’Indications ci-dessus du

Bureau, afin d’ éviter tout

retard dans l’expedition des


Paris, le 28 Fructidor, au 10[14] de la

Republique unie et indivisiblee

Le Ministre de la Marine et des Colonies

Au Ministre des relations

Exterieure A. [La??]


Je vous envoir le preuves

des faits par l’instruction

Ci jointe du procès



Au commencement del’an 2y Citoyen

Ministre le Comité de Salut Public ayant ordonnée

à chacun des Ministres des Relations Extérieures

et de la Marine; d’expedier un Agent secret en

Irlande le General Dalbarade, alora en place

fit choix du Docteur Jackson, Ministre Anglican

L’objet ostensible de la mission cet étranger étoit

des rédiger à Dublin une feuille périodique [?] mais

des instructione particulièrer lui prescrivoieur d’offrin

aux Irlandair les Secoura et la protection de la

France; es de les Determineu à seconer le joug des

Anglais, le Docteur Jackson pressentit les



dangers de celle entrēprise et n’y dévoua qu’après

avoir obtenu du Comité de Salut Public la promesse

formelle qu’il servit pourvu à la subsistance

de sa famille et qu’on retiendroit en otage un

Offier Général Anglais dans la tête devoit

repondré de la sienne

    Si la suites des événement a prouvé que le

Docteur Jackson a secondé avec zèle les voeux

du Gouvernement française, elle n’a que trop

justifié les craintez qu’ il avoit conçues sur sa

sureté personelle. Dénoncé par un confident

infidèle, il fut arreté comme couplable de haùte

trahison ne s’en soustrait que par une mort

voloutaire an supplice qui lui étoit réservé.

     Ces faits sous attestés par le témoignage des

plusieurs personnes qui dans le tems, eurent part

à la Délibération du Comité de Salus Public et

par la procédure que je vous remets ci jointe.

    Après la mort du Doctor Jackson, sa

veuve retenue en Irlande par la survellance

rigoureuse qu’on exerçoit sur elle ne put

passer en frànce; elle n y est que depuis cinq

mois et a vainement rappellé jusqu’ a present

les engagement pris avec son mari. Les ressources ce

trouvent entièrement espuisiér et elle sollicite de la

justice du Government une pension alimentaire

pur elle et sa fille agée 6 ans et une place

au Peylanneé pour son fils [ainé?] que en dans sa

13 [ence?] année

            Quoique le Docteur Jackson ais reçue ses premiers

Ordrer d’ un de mes prédécesseura, le caractere de sa

mission la range dans la classe des Agents de votré

Mistèrene et j’ai pensé qu’il vous appartenoit

de provoquer la Décision du Premier Consul sur

les réclamation de sa veuve.

Je crois inutile, Citoyen Minister, d’appuyer

par mes insistances les démarcher que Made Jackson

doit faire après de vous.  Ses malheurs, sa position

actuelle intéresseront vivement votre sensibilitè

et j’espère qu’elle obliendre par votre entrmise

les secour dont elle a le plus pressant Besoin

en qu’elle a mèrités par de si douloureux sacrifices

            J’ai le honneur ete vous saleur


            Elle demande surtout à mettre son fils du Prytaneé



[1] The 25 Fructidor Year 10 corresponds to 12 September 1802. It is the month of fruit: the 12th month of the French revolutionary Calendar, extending from Aug 19 to Sept 22

[2] Elizabeth JACKSON. It was alleged that his second wife, Elizabeth, most likely served him his arsenic-tainted tea when she joined him in his prison cell at breakfast on the day of his death. He drank it in the hope that his suicide, by pre-empting a state execution, could protect the few assets he had for their children.

·         The wives of Rev. William Jackson (1737-1795) This post relies on a lot of conjecture, some of which – as I learn more - may prove to be misleading.

[3] Rev. William JACKSON (abt 1737-1795). He was prominent United Irishman who died after being convicted of treason but before sentence could be pronounced.. I have written several blog posts in the hopes of learning more about him, and also in the hopes nailing down the ancestry of his father and the lives of his wives and children. My hope has been that this may also shed light on what led him to become a member of the United Irishmen. Some of my relevant Blog Posts:

·         Richard Jackson father of Rev. William JACKSON (1737-1795)

·         Documents relating to the ancestry of Rev. William JACKSON.

·         Rev. William Jackson & his Gore ancestry

·         Hyde’s Coffee Shop

·         Dr. Richard JACKSON (abt 1720-abt1768) and the SALEs.

·         Rev. William JACKSON - Dead Ends Blog #1

[4] William JACKSON (abt 1789 – aft 1839)

·         What became of the widow of Jackson I have never been able to learn, but in 1839 Dr. M'Neven informed me that there was a son of his then residing in Rome. SOURCE: The United Irishmen, their lives and times. Richard Robert. Madden p188

[5] Louisa Mary JACKSON (1795-?0

·         BIRTH CERT: Louisa Mary, dau of Reverend William & Eliza Jackson of Dublin chr 27 Jul 1795 St Nicholas, Fyfield, England.

[6] The 28 Fructidor Year 10 corresponds to 15 Sept 1802

[7] The 25 Fructidor Year 10 corresponds to 12 September 1802. It is the month of fruit: the 12th month of the French revolutionary Calendar, extending from Aug 19 to Sept 22

[8] This would indicate a birth date of 1789. I am still nailing down the timelines of when Rev. William was in Paris or England, but it seems likely that he was mostly in England at this time.

[9] Thanks to Sylvie Kleinman, I learned that the Prytanée de Paris become known as the Lycée Louis le Grand. It was on the Boulevard St. Michel in the heart of Paris. It was a prestigious school with high educational standards and had been run by former Jesuits. It changed names several times. It had been named after the Prytaneum of Athens where the sons of worthy patriots would be educated, expenses and sometimes board paid by the stateLate 1790s, and Napoleonic era, many boys were educated at the Paris Prytanée on a state scholarship to reward their father’s service (military, or as administrators in government, patriots, etc). … When people referred to the Prytanée, full stop, it usually meant the national one, at La Flèche, which was the prime military academy. That Eliza Jackson specifies Prytanée de Paris is therefore welcome [because it narrows down which one it is]. NOTE: There may be school records.

[10] The Bienfacteur would have been the Citizen Consul

[11] The age of Elizabeth Jackson’s daughter is not clear [7?] In the subsequent letter, she is referred to as age six.  Again, Sylvie Kleinman helped me here: in the 2nd letter, Decrès refers to a 6 year old daughter. Did he misread what she had written, or did he have a verbal interview with her, or ask an underling to check birth certs and residence permits etc? One would assume so. This documentation would have been necessary if indeed state aid was granted. If the little girl was 6, she could have been conceived as late as April ’95, prison visits permitting, and turned 6 ca January 1802. And if Eliza was pregnant with a 3rd child at the time of the trial, she either lost the baby, or had it and left if with relatives in Ireland. NOTE: I suspect that Elizabeth Jackson’s daughter was Louisa Mary Jackson. and that her birth was in 27 July 1795. Assuming a full-term birth, this would indicate a conception in November; therefore likely at the prison where Rev. William was being held and visits were permitted.  Louisa Mary was christened at Fyfield, St Nicholas, Essex, England. Fyfield is about 70 miles north east of London. I have no idea what may have taken her mother there. In the christening record, William JACKSON is recorded as her father, her mother as Eliza JACKSON. Their abode was recorded as Dublin. SOURCE: Free Reg. NOTE: This makes the age of the daughter to be 6 or 7 a good fit with this birth record.

[12] The name of this street was changed to the rue de la Loi during the French Revolution; its name was restored to Richelieu in 1806.

[13] The 25 Fructidor Year 3 corresponds to 11 September 1795. Rev William JACKSON died April 30, 1795. The given age of her son William is consistent with the letter being written in 1802. NOTE: The date of 11 September1795 is included may refer to earlier correspondence. The gap between April 1795 and September 1795 a fit with Elizabeth being unable to get to France for five months.

[14] The 28 Fructidor Year 10 corresponds to 15 Sept 1802



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